1 Timothy 3:12-13
Qualifications for Deacons
We finally arrive at the end of the list of qualifications for these two offices, the only biblical offices of a local church. We may speak of ministers of this or that and a host of committees, all of which is well and good as a church must organize herself for ministry. But we must always bear in mind that these are the only two sanctioned by Scripture. And though their tasks may be shared, they must never be assumed by other church-created positions, boards, or committees; for in so doing, the original and apostolically-mandated institutions of church government are effectively supplanted, as has happened numerous times throughout church history.
Like the bishop, the deacon must have but one wife (if he has a wife) and be faithful unto her. If they have children in the home, he must show that he can manage those children, training them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). The household is a micro-church in which every husband and father is a pastor. If his character or nature is such that he cannot command respect and obedience there, he will not do so in the larger household of God.
In verse thirteen, Paul pronounces a blessing upon such service. These “gain a good standing for themselves.” Certainly this does not apply to earning any reward in heaven but must pertain to the local church itself, not that we serve for the praise of others but that service is its own reward as others benefit from and bless us for our ministry unto them. That deacons would also gain “great confidence in the faith” only stands to reason as the more we serve and walk in the paths of our Lord and Savior, the more we imitate him and draw closer to him. In short, the blessing of serving in these two offices is the service itself as those who serve do so in the hire of the Good Shepherd whose pay includes eternal benefits.
So it is indeed a noble task to which a man aspires if he so desires either of these offices. But let him exercise caution and examine himself in the most meticulous way. Yes, there is great reward but also great responsibility. Let him search his heart well and seek out any vain and base motivations. Does he seek after glory, the approval of men, the compliments of old ladies, or worse—the admiration and sighs of young ladies? If so, he is in the devil’s hire, not the Lord’s. And his ministry, though it swell to a kingdom, will one day come crashing down. Surely, no one is worthy. But if you come, come with fear and trembling, and know that you will be standing on holy ground.